Maximize Your Morning Summer Challenge!

I, for one, don’t want to lose sight of what’s important this summer.  With the kids out of school, weekly trips to the zoo, laying around the pool, BBQ dinners, hot weather that just zaps all your strength, I can easily lose sight of God and my time with Him.  I’ll be the first to admit that though during the school year I will do daily morning devotionals with the kids, during the last summer vacation I didn’t even open a devotional with them!

That is why I’m so excited about the new 13-week challenge by the HelloMornings group!  The challenge is all about maximizing your mornings, via online accountability groups.  Maximizing your mornings is the idea that as a Christian woman, wife, mom, you are waking up early and “maximizing” (using to it’s full potential, making the most out of, etc.) your mornings!  Spend time with God, study your Bible, exercise, drink water, pray, do what you can to start your day at it’s most fullest potential possible!

The 13-week challenge starts May 6th and runs through August 2nd and registration is open through May 3rd!  Today is the first day of registration!  I’m so excited for all the ladies who are already signing up as you read this now.  I mean you can head over RIGHT NOW and register and sign up with a group today!  East Coast? West Coast? Those options are there!  Once you choose your timezone, then you can pick whether you are interested in a Facebook group or Twitter group.  I’m leading a Facebook group for this challenge and keep checking my page to see if I’ve gotten any requests – I’m so eager to meet other ladies for this challenge and Bible study.

Did I mention there’s also a FREE Bible study?! Meet Jesus is a FREE Bible study for all HelloMorning participants.  It’s a 13-week walk through the book of John – which is especially exciting for me because my pastor just started a study through the book of John last week! So I’ll be really digging into the book of John and I’m so excited what the Lord, through His Holy Spirit, will be teaching me this summer.

Listen, perfection is NOT a requirement!  Just a desire to meet with God in the morning and a commitment to checking in with your group.  We are here to encourage one another and lift each other up in prayer and supplication.  I’m looking forward to this summer and to the challenge of waking up each morning, spending time with my Father, my King, my Comforter – my God – and maximizing my mornings to it’s fullest and most blessed potential!

Eagerly Seeking Him,

Yasmin

HelloMornings

Five Minute Friday: Friendship

Lisa-Jo Baker is a blogger who has these Friday Prompts. She gives you a prompt and you write non-stop for 5 minutes. No editing. Just writing.  So that’s what I’m doing this morning.

Friday’s Prompt:  Friendship.

God made us to enjoy friendships.  I don’t have many friends, probably the season I am in with kids and just life.  But I have my two friends that I love and cherish.  I know I can count on them for anything.  If I need to talk about my day, cry on a shoulder, raid their fridge for something to feed my kids, borrow a dress, whatever it is. They will give me and then some.  But even more importantly than the food from their table and the shirt off their backs, they will sharpen me.  My sisters will tell me if they see me going down the wrong path or ask me if I’ve read my Bible today. My sisters look after not only my living body, but my living soul.  They don’t just care about my today, they care about my eternity.  So they aren’t just my friends, they are my sisters in Christ. God gave them to me and they bless my life.  We don’t see each other every day, we don’t speak every day. But when I do see them again, it’s like we were always together. There’s no awkward feeling or silence, just love, laughter, and tears.  I love my sisters. My friends. I pray my daughters are blessed with Godly friendships in their lives.  My sons also.  I have nothing else to write, my mind is blank! lol And I have twenty more seconds to go. I pray over my sisters today that the Lord would lift them up this weekend and just be with them and bless them. Amen!!

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Marissa being taught how to properly skewer a marshmallow by one of my sweet sisters.

STOP.

Five Minute Friday

My hearts need for a true Biblical women’s ministry…

I love reading and studying the Word of God.  I’m part of an online study group going through a few chapters of Luke for the next few weeks. Then over the summer I’ll be part of another online study group.  I love the interaction and the sharing of the word.

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But I wish we had something like that in person.  A ministry that would meet weekly or even monthly to encourage and equip women: young and old, married and single, mothers and daughters.  We need more Titus 2, Proverbs 31, 1 Peter 3 type of women to rise up and lead, encourage, pray over, teach, and equip the women of the church.

I’m not talking about a pretty ministry that teaches pretty things and everything is all pink and rosie.

I’m talking about true Biblical Womanhood/Sisterhood.  When I think of Biblical Womanhood/Sisterhood, I think of Deborah, Abigail, Rahab, Sarah, Hannah… these women did not have easy lives.  Abigail especially is someone I really connect with.  She lived with an unsaved husband, but still loved and protected his interest no matter what.  Now that’s strength! To love like that is to know the true meaning of what love is.   Our pastor defines it as: Disinterested Benevolence. I love you and bless you and expect NOTHING in return.  We need to learn that and teach it to the newcomers in our church.  So many married wives and mothers are being saved, but their husbands are not.

Biblical Womanhood is being a Prayer Warrior. It’s not pretty, nice, and elegant. It’s that get down on your knees and cry out to God until you have nothing left within you to cry with; it’s that courage and strength to look the enemy in the eye and proclaim victory over your family through the blood of Christ; and yet and still, it’s that beauty that surpasses all beauty in it’s submission and modesty.

Biblical Womanhood is what I try to attain in this life, it’s the legacy I pray to leave behind to my girls and the generations that may come after that, should the Lord tarry. I haven’t reached it, I don’t think I ever will on this side of eternity, but the Lord will help me to be the best He made me to be in His amazing love and never ending mercy.

I currently don’t have a ministry like that in my life.

It’s heavy on my heart.

Waiting on Him,

Yasmin

Our Saturday

Last Saturday my husband had to run his new truck route and meet all the store managers.

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This is hubby driving. He’s using my phone as a GPS because his phone’s GPS wasn’t working. Thank God I thought to bring my charger with me!

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I was so tickled to see Bethlehem on the map.  My hubby made fun of me and said I was sure to post that I had made it to Bethlehem on Facebook! LOL {I probably would have done it if he hadn’t had my phone the whole trip! lol}

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After a few stops and so many hours driving, the kids (and the parents) were restless. So we stopped at a restaurant to eat and let the kids run around on a hill before going inside.  Marissa ran up and started singing and dancing – typical Marissa style! Amazing how different each one of our kids is.

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Hubby also seemed pretty pent up from being in the car so many hours and started skipping and waving his hands…

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And skipping some more… LOL! We all got a good laugh out of that one.

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In the restaraunt  Sam drank chocolate milk… I think it was his first time drinking it. He wouldn’t put it down!

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Kaitlyn and Jeremiah.

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I love Cherry soda.  But this is Cherry Pepsi, which I don’t enjoy.  I love when restaurants add grenadine to the Coke – the cherry flavor really stands out then.  Sam, Marissa, and I always fight over my cherry.  I think I’ll start asking for three cherries so we can all share!

 

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I loved this photo! I have great memories of The Honeymooners from my childhood. I would always watch it with my dad – it started my love for classic shows and movies.  I love The Dick Van Dyke Show, I Love Lucy, Happy Days, and I listen to The Great Gildersleeve and Our Miss Brooks on old time radio. Love it.
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We drove by a jail!! It was so weird to actually see inmates walking the yard right by a highway.  What was even crazier was that right next to the jail was a baseball field and childs park!  Can you imagine having memories of playing ball as a kid… right outside a prison?!  Seems kind of sad…

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I took a picture of this because I had never seen this type of ice cream!! I so wanted to try it, but it was too cold outside to enjoy ice cream.

DSCN5054It was such a long day! We stopped at nine stores and drove over 300 miles in our little minivan.  This bridge was like a light at the end of the tunnel! It was our way to get out of PA and into NJ and our humble home.  I LOVE long trips, but this stop and go, stop and go, no place to rest kind of trip wasn’t fun at all. By the time I took this picture I was so done and barely speaking to anyone for fear I might let the grumpiness in my heart come out into the world (though my hubby will tell you that he felt it from his driver seat!).  We were all beat and GLAD to be home!

That was our Saturday.

At His Feet,

Yasmin

Five Minute Friday: Jump

There’s a blogger who has these Friday Prompts. She gives you a prompt and you write non-stop for 5 minutes. No editing. Just writing.  So that’s what I’m doing this morning.

Friday’s Prompt:  Jump.

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I want to jump. With no parachute. No backups. Nothing that will hold me back. I want to jump into a crazy faith in You. In my God.  I want to dive deep into Your love and deep into a relationship with You. I want to drown in Your presence, never to be seen again by friend or family.  I want to dive deep into You.  My old me is gone and all people can see is the radiance of You.  All they can hear is love and mercy in every word that I speak.  All they can think is “where did she go? That woman who used to curse out the driver who cut her off?  That woman who had to have the last word? That woman who worked full time, went to school full time, and gave her kids an hour at night – if that much?”  She’s not here! She jumped.  She dove.  She went headlong deep into her God and she is never to be seen again.  She’s gone. In her place? A reflection of love. A reflection of mercy. A reflection of Him.  Who is He? Who is it that changed her so much? Come, let me speak to You of His love. Let me tell you of what He’s done in my life. What He can do in yours.

STOP.

Five Minute Friday

Unequally Yoked…

Being unequally yoked is hard.

Listen to me all you unmarried girls, ladies, women.  It’s hard.  There’s a reason Christ told us not to be unequally yoked.

I married my husband when we were both lost in the world.

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Then I came to know the Lord and a few years later, so did he.  After only a year, though, he stopped going to church and that’s where we are now.

There’s pain in the choices he makes.  I feel like we don’t even live in the same world, let alone time zone.  I have to constantly remind myself that my eyes, my ears, my mouth – are all filtered through the Word of God.  The Holy Spirit is my veil.  My husband doesn’t have that veil.  So to be upset at his choices or his words is not really fair.

I used to argue with him, trying to get him to see the error of his ways and his thinking. But that doesn’t work.  I know that now.

So I don’t argue.  I let him make his choices and I try not to make him feel guilty over them.

Its hard when my husband, who used to read his Bible and agreed with me about situations or issues, now thinks I take my “religion” too seriously. Who tells me not to force it on the children.

I cry to God on especially hard days.  I cry out to God and ask Him to show me my husband in His eyes – not my eyes. To love my husband through these hard times. To not open my heart to sin by allowing myself to think negative thoughts towards the man who is my head.  Who else is praying for my husband, if not me?  Who else can show him love and tenderness, if not me?  Who else can pray him into the Kingdom of God, if not me? I praise God on Sundays with outreached arms and a broken heart to send me where he wants and I’ll follow Him anywhere… but I can’t love on my husband? Hypocrite! Brood of vipers! I can just hear Jesus calling down to me from heaven!

So no matter what my husband gives me, or doesn’t give me. No matter how he treats me. No matter the words he says to me. I will continue to love him and pray for him.  I will never deny him dinners or love.  I will never call a friend to complain about him.  I will never put him down.  I will love on him. Pray over him. Lift up his spirits.  He is my cross to bear and I will do so joyfully.

Jesus died for my sins.

So I too, pray intecessory prayers over my husband. I pray for his sinful words and sinful lifestyle to be put on me – for I am innocent of them. I pray that God will forgive me for my husbands sins, so that he may have a chance.  It’s hard to pray that sometimes, but Jesus did it for me. I love my Jesus so much. I want to be more like Him. And so I take my husbands sins and do the same.

And then I testitfy. I stand boldly and testify that my husband open his eyes and heart and bow his life down to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  That he will one day become a man of God and lead his family in a righteous way through these end times. My husband will be a man of God. He will be baptized by water, then by the fire of the Holy Spirit.  He will prophesy. He will lead his boys and love his girls.

Praise God! I praise God for His promises. I praise God for His love. I praise God for who He is. I have to praise God, because if I didn’t I would drop into the deepest, darkest, blackest dispair from which I couldn’t recover from.  And so I praise God in the bad times, and I don’t stop.  I shout praises to Him in my house. I shout praises to Him in my car. I shout praises to Him from within my soul.

And tomorrow?

Tomorrow is a new day to do it all over again.

But today is all I think about.

Today is all I can take, all I can handle.

He gives me strength for it.

And for that, I praise Him again.

Wrapped in His grace and mercy,

Yasmin

My Sister… Amanda

I met Amanda a few years ago at church, a single mom of a very lively 2 year old (at the time) daughter.  It seems like we hit it off right away and we’ve just been close ever since our first encounter.  I love her. She’s been through so much in life and yet she’s always smiling, laughing, and shouting! You can hear ‘Manda from across the church – and you’ll probably hear me right along side her because we are just LOUD.  It’s the Hispanic in us – LOL!

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Amanda loves my kids. And she tells them all the time.

“I freakin’ love you guys!”

She says that constantly. And texts it too.

Here she is taking a picture on our computer with Marissa.

Photo on 2013-04-07 at 18.24And here she is with my eldest, Kaitlyn.

And finally she called out to me, “Sissy! Come take a picture with me!”

I brushed her off and said I was cooking and I had to get us all to church on time for the evening Bible study service.

“Come on, Sissy! Just a quick picture!”

And so I stopped, because I love her, because she’s so persistent that I knew she wouldn’t stop until I did, because she’s fun and spontaneous – and sometimes I need more of that in my life.

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Here we are. My “Sissy” and me (and my Kaity photo-bombing in her usual style!).

God sent her to me.  

A younger woman to bring up and share my faith with.  A younger woman to encourage when she’s going through difficult times.  A younger woman to call and ask if she read her Bible today.  A younger woman to invite over for dinner or BBQ – so she and I can fellowship while our children play.

And while I encourage her, she encourages me.  

When she calls me and asks to come over – I know she finds comfort in my fellowship and it reminds me that someone does like my company.  When we laugh so hard that we literally cannot breathe – it reminds me that I have a sister I can have crazy, fun times with.  When she cries on my shoulder and tells me her deepest, most intimate secrets – it reminds me that the Lord put me in her life for such a time as this.

I was there. And now I’m here.

So I can share that with her. Just like Jesus shares that with us.

He’s not a far off God that doesn’t know our pains, our temptations, our happiness.

No, he became flesh so that He might share that with us.

I’m grateful for ‘Manda.  She’s my sister and I love her and pray for her constantly.

At His feet,

Yasmin

The Desires of My Heart…

Last month, during a prayer session for our Easter Drama, I snuck over to some Prayer Warrior sisters who were praying together in a group.  I bowed my head and just sat next to them, taking in their prayers. My hearts desire is to be like them – women of prayer.  So I just wanted to see how they prayed and take it all in.  It was beautiful how they prayed. They all seem to know each other intimately and lifted each other in prayer: each others husbands, children, issues.  Some prayers were short, some were a bit longer. I love how they quoted Bible verses and held onto those promises.  They declared victory – not just praying and backing it up with a “but thy will be done” just in case there was no victory. No. They prayed victory over each other and over the souls coming to watch the Easter Drama.  These were women who stood on the word of God and boldly declared it to one another.

It was beautiful.

When they finished I began to cry out in my heart to be like them.  I prayed to God that He would give me the power to become a prayer warrior and pray His word and lift others in intercessory prayer.

Then I felt a hand on my shoulder.  One of the Godly sisters began to pass her hand over my shoulder and prayed to God that He would hear my hearts desires. She began praying over me and interceding for me, asking The Lord to grant me my hearts desires. She even began praying for my husband and my children.  It was such an amazing blessing.

A week later, after much praying and staying in the word of God, I received the baptism of the Holy Spirit during church service.  

I feel changed and now have this power within me that comes out in my prayers.  I’m still learning.  It’s a new language and I’m still learning it. But it’s helped my prayer life.  I pray longer now. I can’t wait to be in prayer.  During the day, when my son naps, I will fast that time of eating or cleaning to get down on my knees and begin to pray. I wait on the Holy Spirit to reveal to me who to pray for as well. And He does bring people or situations to my mind.

The power of the Holy Spirit is such an amazing thing.  He teaches and instructs. I couldn’t be a prayer warrior without Him.  I’m not a prayer warrior yet… but I think I’ve just entered training camp for it.

In awe of the Father who saw my hearts desires and granted it to me.

Yasmin

The Prodigal Son…

This week shook me. 

I found out something that just turned my world upside down – and I never use that expression.

It made me realize that no one is exempt from being blinded by the enemy.  Even if you are blessed enough to have a Christian heritage, Godly women and men surrounding your life, a Godly spouse who is in ministry.  None of that matters.  It’s all you and your heart with the Lord.  The enemy can trip up anyone.

Image That was a huge realization for me.  If someone so immersed in God’s love and blessings can be tripped up and blinded – why not me?  Outside of my church family, I’m alone in my faith.  I try my best to raise my children under the Lord’s love and guidance.  But I don’t have support from family or friends.

If it can happen to that person, it certainly can happen to me.

It scared me.

Brings me to my knees in fear of ever leaving my God – the Love of my life.  The Lover of my soul.

ImageIt makes me want to be closer to Him.  Makes me want to repent more.  Open my life up more to His eyes and cry out that He would reveal even the smallest of sins.  Makes me want to love others more. Love my husband more.  Be more like Jesus so that I can feel Him within everything I do.  With every action, with every word, with every breath.  So I can see that He is with me.  Do I have the fruits of the spirit? Am I showing love to my neighbors? Am I forgiving and living in that forgiveness?

 

I have a heavy burden to pray for this person.  The Lord brings them to my heart constantly throughout the day. It breaks my heart when I think of how they are living.  And I can only think about how it’s breaking the heart of my Lord and Savior.

But this morning, it was no coincidence that my devotional was on the Prodigal Son.  The son that demanded his portion and went off to live a wild life.  But when he found himself eating and living with pigs (a Jewish boy living with pigs!!), he repented.  He came back to his father humbly, hoping to just be a servant in his household.

The father’s reaction?

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Joy! He ran to his son when he saw him – which means he was always attentive. Always looking and waiting for his boy to return to him. I’m sure he prayed for him daily – even hourly.  

“He was dead, but is now alive!

He was lost, but is now found!”

What wonderful sentiment! So I pray for this person… but I cannot forget to rejoice! Because I know who my God is. I know all the great things He has done. And His arm is not so short that He cannot reach a lost sheep of His.  So I praise God for the day that this will happen.  The day that my friend, who is dead, will be alive! The day my friend, who is lost, will be found!  

Praying and praising God for you until the day you return.

At His feet,

Yasmin